LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Wednesday a sex scandal involving a woman accused of trying to extort millions from him has been “pure hell” for his family, fuming that newly released video of her police interview revived her “total fabrication.”
Pitino spoke at a hastily called news conference hours after Louisville police released audio and video recordings of phone calls and an interview with Karen Cunagin Sypher, the woman at the heart of the scandal. Pitino has told police that he had sex with her six years ago.
Sypher claims in the interview that Pitino sexually assaulted her, an allegation she brought to police after she was accused of trying to extort millions from the coach. She has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of extortion and lying to the FBI.
The coach lashed out at the media for again reporting on her accusations by airing clips of the interviews Wednesday. Prosecutors did not pursue charges against the coach.
“Everything that’s been printed, everything that’s been reported, everything that’s been breaking in the news on the day Ted Kennedy died is 100 percent a lie, a lie” Pitino said. “All of this has been a lie, a total fabrication of the truth.”
The 56-year-old father of five said the scandal has taken a heavy toll on his wife and family.
“It has been pure hell for her and my family,” he said. “I admitted to you I made a mistake, and believe me I will suffer for that.”
Pitino’s remarks were his first public statements since a five-minute apology two weeks ago for an “indiscretion” with Sypher at a Louisville restaurant in 2003. Sypher later told Pitino she was pregnant, planned to have an abortion but did not have medical insurance. He told police he gave her $3,000, money his attorney Steve Pence said was for insurance, not an abortion.
Pitino had planned to stay mum and let the case go to trial when he says “the truth will come out.” Pitino didn’t discuss details of the case.
Instead, he opted to come forward after local television aired portions of Sypher’s interview.
“Enough’s enough, everybody is tired of it,” Pitino said. “We need to get on with the important things in life like the economy and really some crucial things in life like basketball.”